April - The First Quarterly Season in Market Research
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April - The First Quarterly Season in Market Research

April 14, 2015

Ji Young Denick

Every industry has a special time during the year. The magazine industry has the September issue. The retail industry has the Holiday season, Thanksgiving through Christmas. The market research industry has the April, first quarterly season. If you are a quantitative data analyst in Market Research, you will know what I mean.

Every industry has a special time during the year. The magazine industry has the September issue. The retail industry has the Holiday season, Thanksgiving through Christmas. The market research industry has the April, first quarterly season. If you are a quantitative data analyst in Market Research, you will know what I mean.

This is the time you analyze three months plus years worth of data and uncover the latest trends. Your SPSS file is full of opinions of thousands of survey takers, waiting to be heard. Your data tables with curated subgroups have been filled up with responses no matter how niche the group is. You craft an analysis plan to think through possibilities before diving into the data. Your respondent level data file may slow down a bit sometimes because your data set is vast. Then there is an arduous but somewhat therapeutic process of data QC. Once you’ve checked your data from top to bottom, you are certain that your data set is pristine, ready to be used. Then, it is show time!

I’ve run over 10 trackers for brands from established legacy brands to emerging tech start-ups and categories ranging from insurance to video games. The most exciting part of running continuous trackers is you get to witness the evolution of brands over time. It provides an opportunity to cultivate intimate, long term relationships with our clients. Here are some tips to fulfill the intellectual curiosity as a researcher and generate the most impactful and actionable insights.

1. Get to the Bottom
A great piece of music starts with a memorable, beautiful melody, but what makes it greater is the harmonies that echo around the melody. Trackers are the same. It is easy to spot the ups and downs you see at a total level. But the most actionable insights are derived from the driving force behind the surface level changes. Be obsessed with the whys. Persist in explaining them and you will discover things that you may not have anticipated.
2. Ask Golden Questions and Answer Them
Don’t go into the quarterly phase solo. Always collaborate with your clients to incorporate their input. What are the burning questions that need to be answered in this quarter? This type of planning helps you get ahead of the game, giving you directions, and your time will be used efficiently.
3. Context is Key
No matter how closely you follow the industry news via online articles, knowing the inside scoop of what is really happening within your client’s company and category is priceless. When I see interesting trends in data, I often seek my client’s reaction. “I see that the West respondents are driving the growth. Is it intuitive to you?” You will be surprised how much new information you get from that question, which will help you strategize your next steps in your analysis.
4. Make the Big Data Look Small
Dealing with big data is double-edged sword. It empowers you with a ton of data cuts, giving you the freedom to explore all possibilities. However, sometimes you may find yourself swimming in the data, feeling lost. A quant researcher’s role is to make the big data look small. Find the compelling insights, crystalize them, and present them in the simplest way. Data dump is soul numbing. A well thought-out single slide is 100 times more powerful than 100 slides of numbers.

Ji Young Denick

Associate Director, Quantitative Research

As an Associate Director, Ji Young is experienced in a variety of quantitative methodologies, including brand positioning, tracking, copy testing, product development and A&U. She has worked with...

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